In an ever-expanding commerce business environment, business educators prepare students for a wide variety of international business and opportunity. Business teachers are educating future students to focus on past, present, and modern day economics. At various grade levels, a business teacher might focus on economics, the basic understanding of the world financial economy, marketing, advertising, or accounting. As the building of technology increases, so do the demands of consumers. Educating students about the fast past business environment is considered essential and more school districts are including these practices in school curriculums. An exciting career as a business teacher awaits you!
All states require that candidates for teaching licenses, credentials or certifications hold a bachelor’s degree. In many states, a bachelor’s degree in education is required with a specified amount of credit hours of study in the specialty area. To teach business, you may spend 30-45 hours of study in that area. Some states will allow you to add a specialty area to be a business teacher by passing a subject area examination.
Many states that require degrees in education for teachers also offer an endorsement program for graduates with bachelor or master’s degrees in their specialty areas. Endorsement programs allow the candidate to use their existing education to meet the majority of the education requirements, although additional coursework in teaching principles and education practices may be required.
In other states, candidates with a bachelor’s degree complete a secondary teacher education program. These programs may be anywhere from 1-2 years worth of full-time coursework and teach the principles of education. If you are seeking a credential or certification in business and did not complete a bachelor’s degree in an area related to business, you may be required to take supplemental coursework to reach competency in this area.
Many education programs orient their education programs differently for teachers of early grades and later grades. Since business as a subject is generally taught in middle or high-school, your education may orient towards the teaching of older children. Some states fully orient their certifications or credentials towards one grade or the other (single-subject credentials versus multiple-subject credentials), so a high school business teacher would not have the necessary qualifications to teach in an elementary school. Many teacher education programs will require that you declare your specialty area and grade orientation on admission or soon after enrollment to orient your education toward the appropriate degree or certification.
Many states also require that the educational program you’re attending is approved, or is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE).
Always research your states requirements for teacher education to ensure that you are selecting a qualified education program and are following the correct course for becoming a licensed, certified or credentialed business teacher.
2. Take the Required Teaching Exam
Almost all states require that you pass a test (or series of tests) to demonstrate competency in the education basics and/or your specialty area.
Basic skills tests assess ability in the core education subjects: reading, writing, mathematics and the principles of education and teaching. Subject area tests assess ability in a specialty area. Both sets of test may have several components and your state will determine the number of tests you are required to pass. Some states require only the basic skills tests, some require that you only pass the business subject area tests. There are states that require specialty area teachers to pass both types of examinations.
A state may offer its own competency tests, but many states use the Praxis Examinations. Praxis is a national testing organization that offers both the basic skills and a full array of specialty area tests, including business. Your state may require that you pass the Praxis examination in business before you can teach, and in some states this is the primary requirement for adapting a general degree in teaching or education to your specialty subject area.
3. Get Your Classroom Experience
Field-work is often the cornerstone of a teacher education program, whether the program is a bachelor’s degree in teacher education or a post-baccalaureate credentialing or certification program. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education requires fieldwork as part of accreditation, so you will find that almost all education programs include a thorough rotation of student teaching experiences. Student teaching or fieldwork experiences are often scheduled in the later part of the curriculum to ensure that teaching basics have been taught, and your program may have a GPA requirement in order to advance into the field-work portion of the program. Some teacher education programs also require that you pass the state or Praxis exams before beginning your student teaching experience, and some states require a health examination before entering the classroom.
Student teaching requirements may range from 300 to 500 hours, and a specified percentage of those hours must be in actual classroom instruction. The location of your experiences will vary, although the majority of them will likely be with the grade you are studying to teach. Most programs require that a candidate spend some time in all grades, and will ensure that some experience with special needs children is included in the course of the experience.
The student teaching experience is designed to allow you to learn how to apply your teacher education in a real-world setting. Principles and skill area goals of the teacher education experience include:
Applying education practices in a classroom environment
Progression of classroom responsibility
Data recording and distribution
As a business teacher, you’ll also learn the practical aspects of teaching economics, commerce, basic finance and accounting, business technology, communication and globalization in progressively more independent teaching environments.
Teachers must also communicate with students and provide motivation, encouragement and instill trust. These are not the sorts of abilities one learns through academics, and the student teaching experience allows the development of those qualifications you need that can’t be learned from a book or a lecture.
4. Get the right Teaching License, Credential or Certification
Whether your state calls it a license, a credential or a certification, there is a formal process required that allows you to teach business in the public school system. All states have a regulatory agency that provides oversight for the education and qualification of teachers. It may be a state board of education, or a professional standards commission, but there is a government bureau tasked with ensuring that those people who are in a position of trust and authority with children are qualified.
The basic steps to getting your license (or certification) to be a business teacher are: complete your education, pass the examination(s) and complete your state’s application process. Each state sets its own process, but you will probably find most of these steps:
Completing the state’s specific application
Mailing certified copies of your transcripts to the state board
Sending testing scores to the state board
Completing a background check
Registering your fingerprints with the state
Sending letters of recommendation
Paying an application fee
Most states issue licenses or certification for a specific time period, and you’ll need to renew your license every few years. This generally requires paying a fee and updating your personal information. Some states require that background checks be updated, and many states require that teachers continue to advance their abilities and knowledge with continuing education coursework.
If you have a teaching credential or license from another state, the steps may be slightly different. Check the reciprocity guidelines of the state you are considering for details.
5. Stay current with Business Teacher Education
Becoming a teacher doesn’t mean you stop learning. Advances in research in education as well as evolution in the world of business means that new information is constantly available, and some of what you learned while getting your degree may become outdated as the years pass. In order to stay current in both education and your specialty area, you’ll want to actively pursue the newest information.
In many states, a teaching license or certification has an issue period and part of the renewal process is completing a specified number of continuing education hours (often 8 to 12 a year). This ensures that teachers are participating in educational opportunities that will allow them to keep abreast of the changes in policy and teaching principles, as well as encourage continued learning in a specialty area.
You can also stay current in your field by joining one of the national organizations for teachers. The National Education Association (www.nea.org) is one of the many organizations that allow teachers to network and advance their professional lives as educators.
You can also pursue supplemental certifications or credentials in the area of business education to enhance your abilities. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (www.nbpts.org), for example, offers a certification for career and technical education professionals. Additionally, many school districts and state boards encourage further education in your specialty area. You may find that you can meet your continuing education requirement and improve your earning potential by taking graduate courses in business, finance or economics.
These are only some of the options are available to you to help you continue to develop and grow as a business teacher so you can look forward to a rewarding and successful career as an educator.